The present situation for Syria’s children is bad. Three years have passed and a generation is caught in the middle. It’s not hyperbole when considering that there is no end in sight to the civil war.
Physical danger is an immediate concern. Numbers are hard to know, but estimates put the number of children killed during the conflict at 10,000.
Need is driving some children into labor, something that was not the norm for Syria before the fighting started. Salah is only 15 years-old, but he works in a mine near the Beka’a valley of Lebanon, with his brother. School is not an option for the boys and the family needs income. So they must work.
“I didn’t use to work in Syria,” Salah said to UNICEF. “But I am working here because I need to help with the expenses. My brother is working too. We can’t go to school, so it’s better if we work.”
Also worrying is fact that some 3 million kids are not going to school, roughly half of the country’s school age children. If the disruption lasts for much longer the impacts could be long lasting, worry humanitarian organizations.
A total of 5.5 million children have felt the impacts of the fighting. The number of children affected by the Syrian civil war doubled in the past year and it keeps growing.
A new ad campaign in India is using venerated Hindu goddesses to call attention to gender-based violence. It caught a lot of attention when it launched two weeks ago, but the group behind the campaign says it is not affiliated with it.
The images were commissioned by Save the Children India’s Save our Sisters campaign. Its work is focused on eliminating the trafficking of young girls and women in India. Save commissioned Taproot India to put the campaign together.
There were nearly 250,000 reported crimes against women in India last year. The Abused Goddesses campaign shows photographs of models as figures like Saraswati.
Viewers of the ads are encouraged to ‘Save our Sisters’ by calling a hotline to report incidents of violence. However, Save the Children India is now distancing itself from the campaign after it gained attention earlier this month. Continue reading →
US Senator John McCain is an unlikely ally for President Obama’s sales pitch to launch a military intervention in Syria. Congress has some time to decide what it will do before it reconvenes, but non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are working in and around Syria are pushing for the US to do more, just not with its military.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) issued a strong statement on Sunday condemning the spectre of US attacks in Syria calling such an intervention “largely divorced from the interests of the Syrian people.”
It will be impossible to reach an international consensus, even if there is definitive evidence that chemical weapons were used in Syria, says ICG. Much of that is due to the 2003 campaign to invade Iraq based on reported weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be false. More importantly, the group raises concerns that strikes will raise the level of violence and not prove to be an adequate deterrent to chemical weapon use.
“The Syrians we meet are crying out for peace,” agrees Oxfam America president Raymond C. Offenheiser. “Ultimately, there must be a political solution to the crisis. Military intervention should be an option of last resort.” Continue reading →
DRC: A Merlin health worker attends to two new mothers under mosquito nets.
Earlier this month the UK-based Medical Emergency Relief International (Merlin) announced a merger with Save the Children. The two NGOs said that the decision was to achieve a better reach of critical humanitarian services to the world’s most vulnerable.
“By combining Merlin’s expertise and flexibility with the heritage and reach of Save the Children, we will create a unique proposition: a global humanitarian force that can provide faster and more cost effective support in a humanitarian crisis,” said Carolyn Miller CBE, Chief Executive of Merlin at the time of the announcement.
An investigation into the past few years of Merlin’s operations reveals that the charity was financially stressed. John Alliage Morales at Devex dug into Merlin’s financials and asked other NGO workers to find out what happened. He learned that narrow funding streams and overspending in 2011 led to £1.9 million in losses.
The Taliban made a big mistake in Pakistan when they attacked children traveling to school last October.
A young girls education activist named Malala Yousafzai was critically wounded. Malala, as the world has come to know her, survived the attack and is now a global symbol for girl’s education. She recovered in London and spent her 16th birthday, today, at the UN to deliver a speech on the importance of education.
“The extremists were, and they are, afraid of books and pens,” said Malala. “The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women.”
The Taliban wanted to keep girls from going to schools by assassinating a vocal young girl. Instead they are responsible for propelling a powerful activist on education to the world’s biggest stage. Hence forth, July 12 will be known as Malala Day, in honor of the heroism and determination of one young girl.
She has a supporter in former UK prime minister Gordon Brown. The new UN special envoy for global education said it is possible to get all children, boys and girls, into school by 2015.
“It is only impossible if people say it’s impossible. Malala says it is possible – and young people all over the world think it is possible,” said Brown.Continue reading →
The birth of a child is usually met with celebrations and joy. But for more than one million mothers around the world every year, it is a day of mourning.
Save the Children estimates that more than one million children die each year on the day of birth. Another two million children do not survive their first month of life, says the 14thState of the World’s Mothers report.
Released around Mother’s Day every year, the report from Save the Children scores countries on the health and safety of mothers. This year, the index calls attention to child survival in addition to maternal health.
Nearly two-thirds of global newborn deaths occur in ten countries. They include larger nations like Nigeria, India, China and Indonesia as well as nations with high infant mortality rates such as Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Tanzania.
“Saving newborn lives will prevent incalculable suffering. It is also a vital piece of the global development agenda,” says Melinda Gates in the report introduction. “Children surviving and staying healthy means more children in school and able to learn, which in turn means productive adults who can drive sustained economic growth.”
More than one million people are on the run in Syria, and most experts say this massive refugee situation is likely to get much worse before it gets better.
As always, it is often the children who tend to suffer the most.
The crisis in Syria today compares to massive historic tragedies, Iraq in 1991 and Rwanda, 1994, in terms of the number of people displaced. An additional 2 million Syrians are internally displaced. With as many as 8,000 people leaving Syria every day the UN is concerned that the number of refugees may triple by the end of the year.
That means as much as 15% of all Syrians could be refugees by the end of the year.
Several new reports out this week emphasize the harm this crisis is doing to children – a harm that can persist after the crisis passes, which makes responding to it now more urgent than ever. Continue reading →
As the BBC reports, this is not due to lack of food but to rising food prices, nor is it limited to poor countries:
The charity says that children under two are most in need of help because the body and brain are developing fast at that age. Prolonged malnutrition for these children can irreversibly stunt their growth and reduce their IQ by as much as 15 points.
India is home to a third of the world’s malnourished children. Some 43% of them suffer from malnutrition and three out of four are anaemic.
Malnutrition doesn’t just kill, of course. Save the Children estimates lack of food and a proper diet also cause physical and mental disabilities for hundreds of millions of children who survive on poor diets.
Here’s a video about India’s massive child malnutrition problem from Al Jazeera:
Other news stories based on the Save the Children report: